Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Amibiguity by D. A. Low

By D. A. Low

At the eve of the 50th anniversary of Indian independence Anthony Low examines anew the distinct personality of might be the main momentous fight of the 20th century. He indicates how the fight used to be conditioned via the anomaly of the British place, made up our minds to carry speedy to their Indian empire but reluctant to provide unyielding resistance to their nationalist rivals. Britain and Indian Nationalism makes a huge contribution to the historiography of contemporary India, to Britain's family members with its empire, and to the background of decolonization within the 20th century.

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When these came to naught moves were then made to bring their leaders into a British-dominated Imperial 60 61 62 Especially helpful o n this w h o l e story is D . M c M a h o n , Republicans and Imperialists. AngloIrish Relations in the 1930s, N e w H a v e n 1 9 8 4 . N o t only did this enable Ireland t o remain neutral during the s o o n impending S e c o n d World War. It deprived the British o f a vital strategic asset w h e n they c a m e t o fight t h e future fateful battle of the Atlantic.

P a n d e y , Ascendancy of the Congress. g. V. Bondurant, Conquest of Violence, Princeton 1958. Introduction: contemporary encounters 31 cause, Congress had then to proceed first by cobbling together an amorphous miscellany of disaffected elements that showed themselves ready to support its cause, and then by putting together an extensive portfolio of propaganda methods by which to whittle out far wider popular support than was otherwise forthcoming. For most dedicated nationalists it was all a most heart-rendingly chequered and elongated process, which called for great personal fortitude in withstanding severe batterings by the police, numbing periods of imprisonment, and a good deal of political seduction too.

The Anglo-Irish Settlement and its Undoing 1912-1972, New Haven 1991. 62 The significance of these contemporaneous encounters for our present story is not only that they constituted the very much broader context within which the Indo-British conflict came to be fought out and that they serve to explain the origins of many of the expedients the British employed in India - 'Responsible Government', 'Federation', 'Dominion Status', 'the signing of a Treaty . . between Her Majesty's Government and the constitution-making body' (as the Cripps' Offer put it in 1942) but that they quite vividly reveal the persistent characteristics of the British responses at this time to a whole series of major challenges to their imperial hold.

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